SPIRIT Consortium Releases Specification for IP and Interoperability

6/14/2004 - True to its promise to have a proposed standard within one year, the SPIRIT (Structure for Packaging, Integrating and Re-using IP within Tool-flows) Consortium, which now comprises more than 17 leading companies in the IP generation and EDA tool industry, announced that it has provided an alpha version of the SPIRIT 1.0 specification to its members for approval. After an extensive review and validation stage, Version 1.0 is expected to be approved in early fourth quarter 2004 and provide a standard to support multiple industrial tool-flows and IP libraries. Several EDA and IP companies will be demonstrating their tools actively handling SPIRIT-compliant IP from multiple vendors at this year’s DAC (June 7-11, 2004 San Diego, CA, USA).

“Thanks to the tremendous effort put in by the consortium’s founding companies, we now have an alpha version of the specification that will allow members to encapsulate IP blocks and share them with each other to validate interoperability of IP libraries and multiple tool sets,” said Ralph von Vignau, consortium chairman and director Technology & Standards of Philips Semiconductors Chief Technology Office – Reuse Technology Group.

The alpha version of the SPIRIT 1.0 specification provides a complete solution for RT-level System-on-Chip (SoC) design encapsulation and IP interoperability, as well as interoperability of configurable and non-configurable IP with multiple tool sets. By enabling a standard machine and human readable description of IP block structure and general attributes in XML (eXtensible Markup Language), SPIRIT-compliant IP will be able to flow smoothly into EDA tools that support the SPIRIT format, such as system design, co-verification, simulation and synthesis tools.

Having achieved its first major goal, the consortium today sets itself a new target – to release a new approved SPIRIT version (Version 2.0), which extends the specification to cover interoperability between tools and extends the technical scope to explicitly support Electronic System Level (ESL) and Verification. This will include, for example, the ability to launch application-specific tasks operating on SPIRIT formats from within different EDA tools. It will also enable provision of configurable IP for automated ESL design, assembly, verification and simulation.

“SPIRIT Consortium members fully validate new versions of the specification against real-life SoC design instances before they are released,” said Chris Lennard, SPIRIT Consortium vice chairman and ARM System-Design Programme manager. “Because this means validation by some of the world’s leading IP vendors and EDA companies, the specification will effectively have been adopted before it is released rather than the other way around.”

The excitement that this interoperability initiative has created in the industry has already prompted a number of new companies to join the Consortium, including:

Aptix, Beach Solutions, CoWare, Denali, Design & ReUse, Iextreme, MOHC, Novas, Prosilog, Summit Design and Synchronicity.

SPIRIT Demonstrations at DAC
Demonstrations of SPIRIT and information on SPIRIT-based products and services can be found at the following Booths at DAC 2004.

Cadence #2441: Cadence will be showing how blocks of SPIRIT-compliant IP can be imported into the CoWare/Cadence integrated tool flow to build a design platform and then simulate and verify the platform.

Mentor Graphics #626: Mentor Graphics® will demonstrate Platform ExpressTM automatically building and simulating designs that include IP from ARM, ST and Philips and Mentor, documented with the SPIRIT XML standard.

Synopsys #4825: Synopsys will demonstrate the creation of an ARM powered DesignWare® USB subsystem using DesignWare coreAssembler in a knowledge-based IP integration flow with SPIRIT v1.0 alpha compliant IP from multiple vendors.

The Structure for Packaging, Integrating and Re-using IP within Tool-flows (SPIRIT) consortium was created to develop a standard for more efficient integration of IP in System-on-Chip (SoC) platform design in two areas: IP meta-data description and a tool integration API. The consortium is comprised of leading EDA, IP and system and semiconductor companies, including ARM, Cadence Design Systems Inc., Mentor Graphics, Royal Philips Electronics, STMicroelectronics and Synopsys, Inc. For more information or to become a member of SPIRIT visit www.spiritconsortium.com.

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